Saturday, January 17, 2009
When a short update wont do....
Dear Family & Friends,
We regret to be informing you that Ruth's sister Joanna (upper left photo) had an MRI this past week and the results showed that her aggressive level 4 brain tumor has grown back and has almost completely filled the hole (size of an orange) where she had surgery only 3 months ago. As you can imagine this has been devastating news, especially coming so soon after the loss of the baby.
Joanna's doctors had told her that if they hadn't found the brain tumor and removed 90% of it when they did that she might have not lasted another 2 weeks. We thank the Lord for the extra time thus far that He has given to all of us and are now preparing for the very real possibility that she is in a very serious health situation and there is the very real possibility that this cancer could take her life soon. It's because of this urgency that with the consent of our home church and NTM leadership, at this time, we are going to be taking a break from language learning here in Indonesia and fly home the second week of February. All-in-all we were planning on coming home later to raise our support for a tribal work after finishing language study and finding a tribe to work with, I guess we’re just coming home a little sooner then expected. NTM allots their missionaries a 2-year time for raising support and we had only taken 9 months before we left. So our plan is to pro-rate that time and come home for about a year to spend time with Joanna and family, hopefully build up our support base to enable us to work in a tribal church plant, & have a baby.
With that said, we have some other BIG plans/news! Just two days ago when we were talking to our leadership here, a tribal church visit presented itself (upper middle photo). Ben has been planning on taking a survey trip to the Maluku province of Indonesia with some friends for quite some time now. We feel this is the region where the Lord is directing us and Ben was bummed that it was looking like he couldn’t make the trip because of us needing to come home sooner then later. Our plan was to take 2 more weeks to finish the Unit of language that we are in at school and then take one week to pack up and come home. But leadership said it makes more sense to stop language now and check out this tribal area for about 7 days before returning to the States. We are so thankful for this opportunity that the Lord has laid in our laps. We really feel that this will be beneficial for us in that this is why we have come to Indonesia. We really feel that the Lord directed us to this field to work with a tribal group. We know this will increase the passion the Lord has given us and give us a better understanding of what we will be involved in when we return, thus being able to share this with all of you as well!
In leaving for this trip tomorrow please be praying because we’re about to experience the ‘intense’ missionary life. Though we are very thankful that the Lord has allowed our friend James to travel with us for this trip!
-We fly out from the Island of Java to Sulawesi tomorrow & get ready to make the trip into the tribe.
-Thursday we fly down to a closer area where we head out on a boat. We don’t yet know the size of this boat but we’ve heard we’ll have a small cabin where the girls can sleep… This leg of the trip is supposed to take about 22 hours!
-After that boat ride we’ll be getting on a ‘long boat’ for a 3-½ hour boat ride to the island where the tribe is located.
-Once we get to the island we have a 2 hour hike left to reach our destination village. There we will be greeted with a warm meal by a missionary family who has been working hard to see a mature tribal church raised up in this area, but still have a long road ahead of them. They are desperately looking for missionary partners to come along side and help work on translation, discipleship, teaching, literacy, and anything else that needs to be done. Who knows, maybe the Lord wants to use our family to fill this need!
Please be praying with us during this time of thinking through everything, making plans, buying plane tickets, and packing. There is still so much to think about that it can become maddening at times.
Walking through this together,
Ben, Ruth, Chloe & Gwen
Posted by Ben & Ruth